Belfast Telegraph

Criminality embedded in one of Northern Ireland's most prolific offenders, says judge

BY CHRIS KILPATRICK

A lifelong criminal with 227 previous convictions has been refused bail after a judge said criminality was embedded in him.

Patrick James Morgan – one of Northern Ireland's most prolific offenders – was told he must remain behind bars charged with launching a vicious assault on a former partner and a series of other offences.

High Court judge Justice Stephens was yesterday told Morgan threatened to glass the woman during a row over alleged infidelity, which escalated into violence when Morgan punched and kicked her.

Morgan was seeking bail following the incident, alleged to have taken place on October 26.

The 39-year-old appeared before the High Court via video-link from Maghaberry Prison.

A prosecutor said Morgan and the woman began to row when she refused to hand him the keys to a car. She said he threatened to harm her and break all the windows of the vehicle.

A short time later Morgan was said to have asked her if she was having an affair, before slapping her a number of times across the face.

The victim is said to have fled to his current partner's house.

The attack by Morgan is said to have continued inside the house, with the victim claiming she was punched in the head and chest and kicked when she fell to the ground.

As he launched the volley of blows, the court was told he said: "You will never two-time me again."

The victim said she escaped by fleeing to another room, at which point Morgan drove off. Police were called and when they arrived at Morgan's Churchill Road home in Ballykelly, Co Londonderry, he was described as being drunk in bed.

When breathalysed he was found to be three times over the limit, prosecution said. He was subsequently charged with assault, taking a vehicle without consent, driving while disqualified, no insurance, criminal damage, drink-driving and breaching bail. Defence for Morgan said the bail address was that of the applicant's long-term partner.

They were on a six-month break when the incidents occurred, the court was told.

Defence said Morgan was a primary carer for his partner, who was present for yesterday's bail hearing. The lawyer said Morgan's lengthy criminal record was largely down to problems he had with alcohol. He said since being placed in custody in October Morgan had received treatment to help him overcome his drink problem.

Justice Stephens rejected the bail application, pointing to Morgan's lifetime of crime. "I suggest that pattern of behaviour is embedded and would be extremely difficult to shift," he added.

STORY SO FAR

On Monday Patrick James Morgan appeared before Londonderry Magistrates Court charged with a series of offences including assault. It was revealed during that hearing that Morgan had 227 previous convictions. He first appeared in court aged 17 and has been a repeat offender for two decades.

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